When I was younger I was very chubby and had a bowl cut and dressed like a boy. I was often asked by my peers if I was a boy or a girl. I always had friends and I was never the target of excessive bullying, but I was often brought down by my own thoughts. I was a bully....to myself. In elementary school I don't ever remember my "difference" holding me back... I don't ever remember it enabling me from being social or hanging out with my friends. In middle school however the fact that I was different started to be more noticeable. Maybe not so much to my peers but more so to me. I specifically remember being in elementary when the thought that I could be gay started to creep into my mind. However being so young I didn't know much on the topic and it was easy to convince myself that I was just going through a phase and that next year I would be more girly and like boys more. In middle school.....well that was a little harder to do. My feelings towards girls were not as easily ignored. I had crushes...multiple crushes that I hid within friendships. I started to separate myself emotionally and physically from people, scared that if I got too close they would start to see who I was......A monster. I started to tell myself I was a nobody.....that I was a mistake. In high school the depression started to creep in like a plague. I alienated myself from my close friends because they were all dating and having the boyfriends....and, well, I wasn't. Growing up in the mormon church my thoughts were often led to temple marriage and eternal families and it was like I had unconsciously made a decision that I could never be happy. That I would never be normal. I felt like a failure all the time. After struggling through high school and putting on a brave face I graduated, excited of what my future had to hold. I had unknowingly planted these dreams and expectations of what "real" life was. I speculated that once I graduated things would magically change and I would be happy. I. Was. Wrong.
I struggled all through my college years trying to find out who I was. If you've read my last post you'll understand when I say I "hit rock bottom". Once you hit rock bottom you don't automatically pop out on top. You have to fight to get there. So this last week that's what I've been doing..... Fighting. I have spent my whole life telling myself I was a monster, a nobody, that I was worthless and a mistake. I have spent my whole life tearing myself down....being my own bully that now.....Well.....its hard to tell myself I'm not. I have been searching the past couple of weeks for strength to keep fighting this war going on within myself...... And then while at work I was reading to one of my disabled students a book that changed my life.
Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss (I've highlighted my favorite parts)
Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care. About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there." With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you'll want to go down. In that case, of course, you'll head straight out of town.
It's opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry. Don't stew. Just go right along. You'll start happening too.
OH! THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!
You'll be on your way up! You'll be seeing great sights! You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed. You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don' t Because, sometimes, you won't.
I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch.
You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump.
And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked. A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right... or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.
NO! That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping, once more you'll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you're that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. there are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don't. Because, sometimes, they won't.
I'm afraid that some times you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you.
All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot.
And when you're alone, there's a very good chance you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.
But on you will go though the weather be foul On you will go though your enemies prowl On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike and I know you'll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
So... be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!
Right in the middle of reading this book I paused and struggled to hold back tears. I realized through this silly Dr. Seuss book that all those years of putting myself down had only led to to where I was now. On Top. I finally realized that I had made it. That I was on top of my mountain. But I'm not stopping there. I know life is full of ups and downs and thats okay because there are so many other mountains to climb....and to keep climbing them at one point I'll have to slide down. So though I may be on top now...I'm NOT going to stop fighting. I'm going to fight for happiness, for peace, for love, for equality, for whats right and against wrong, for the handicapped, for the sad, for the lost and the down, and for me. There is so much that awaits me! So many adventures and places to see. My expectations are high, my smile is big, and my desires and huge. The sky is my limit! All I need is the strength....and I'll fight for it, cause I'm a Fighter....and Oh The Places I'll Go.